Material Information

Place of Publication:
Tapia House Pub. Co.
Creation Date:
October 8, 1972
completely irregular
Physical Description:
no. : illus. ; 43 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Politics and government -- Periodicals -- Trinidad and Tobago ( lcsh )
serial ( sobekcm )
periodical ( marcgt )


Dates or Sequential Designation:
no. 1- Sept. 28, 1969-
General Note:
Includes supplements.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright Tapia House Pub. Co.. Permission granted to University of Florida to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier:
000329131 ( ALEPH )
03123637 ( OCLC )
ABV8695 ( NOTIS )

Full Text

* ,T :
I (SEJ Lh.

SO FAR from choosing to lay himself down, Eric Williams has declared his
commitment to the even more rigid maintenance and reinforcement of
the regime he and his PNM have constructed over the last 15 years.
Needless to say, the ever meaningless prospect of the little king's abdi-
cation was sweetly seductive to those who feel some decisive resolution of
the national crisis is realisablesimply by the expedient of installing in office a
new man or even a new government.
By any standard, 16 years of office are a long time for any government. A signifi-
cant majority of our popula-
Stion have been ruled by the
PNM from the cradle, or at
least from the earliest forma-
tive years.
Tley have had no choice.
Thie rest remember the British
Crown Colony.
..To. its credit, in their
early years the PNM lifted
our hearts and shifted our fo-
cus to the possibility of a just
and egalitarian society. The C
PNM promised independence,
federation, political education,
morality in public affairs, plan-
ning and inter-racial solidarity.
The inescapable blame
that the PNM must face is
that it has mismanaged 'ou:r
lives, and 'that all these pro-.
mises and dreams have become.-
nightmares, dark shadows
breeding terror.


Disillusioned, we. have
long withdrawn- our consent
from. this government, but
lacking the political experience
and democratic institutions to
change it, we have had to re-
sort to spontaneous crisis to
demonstrate our protest.
.:. This is what we have been
doing since the Rodney march
and the Bus strike, since the
Michener :affair and the
February Revolution, since St.
Francois and Woodbrook, since
the visit of Santos and Pele.
Each time we have
stared into the barrels of guns.
The claws of neo-colonialism
.have dug deeply into the flesh.
Unless we break its grip, blood
will surely flow.
The stamp of central
domination which has remained
intact on every institution is
now to be applied with a
heavier fist than ever before.
The essentially totalitarian
control that the Prime Minister
seeks to have over elected
party members would have the
effect of reducing to helpless
political eunuchs the men who
in the first place owed their
election to the Prime Minister's.
("If I put up a jackass andsay
vote for him, vote for him.")

The convention address
was a ringing denunciation of
members of Cabinet and Parlia-
ment. The necessity for
greater, not less, central con-
trol euphemised as "co-
ordination" was based on
the demonstrated incompetence
ofgovemment members.
It is only the Prime
Minister who can check foreign
interference, who is incor-
ruptible enough to be trusted
with the highest state responsi-
bility, whose judgment would
provide the exquisitely correct
timing for political actions.
In spite of that, Williams
disingenuously complains about
the volume of requests he re-
ceives from members of the
public, from party members
seeking favours, and from
others who realise that, to get
anything done, recourse must
B had to the Fountainhead of
power, the veritable Omnipo-
tent in the situation.
One. clue to his present
,i:- -* *. . .

exasperation' ith 'th per-
formance of his governmental
colleagues derivesfrom the
1971 elections. So much atten-
tion has been directed to the
outcome of those elections,
that some key factors have
been overlooked.
It was always evident,
however, that the PNM had by
that time become so moribund
an institution as to be unable
to attract any but the most
reckless and cynical political
adventurers. While salaaming
the eminence of the Doctor
and publicly going through the
motions of loyalty to the
party, they kept to themselves
and for private circulation their
own views about the operation
of which they were a part.
In the case of older
heads, they have ensured their
seat in the gravy train by
ostentatious and obsequious
acts of faith like Kamal's abject
panegyric on the event of the
launching of "From Columbus
To Castro". The patent in-
sincerity of that panegyric -
if one really felt that way about
someone one could hardly be
moved to utter it in that fashion
to his face is obvious to any




staff relieve
you of all worried


TAP/A HOUSE Publishing Co., Ltd., Tunapuna.




ears not as humourless as those
of the Doctor.
Though Williams has
been wont of late to talk abou
"an era of political activity
which is no more", the 1971
election campaign was an un-
ashamed reversionto the squalid
politics of a past thought
Clearly, the PNM had to
go to the polls with a pick-up
side, several members of which
were themselves most surprised
by the outcome. The prospect
of another Charles or Richard-
son hiding in the Government
benches is what has made
Williams propose that PNM
Parliamentarians in future
leave with him thedeposit of
their head on a platter.
The country knows, how-
ever, that in any case Williams
has not been distinguished for
his judgment of men. Did he
not once embrace ANR Robin-
son as his deputy and succes-
Could he not see from
beforehand why Karl Hudson-
Phillips would inevitably be
the sensational failure he has

And so;, the -finger-of-
blame which Williams points
everywhere round the fringes
and inner circles of the party
must eventually curl back to
himself. If the legitimation for
Doctor Politics depends on the
objective ability of the Govern-
ment colleagues, then indeed
it is the Doctor who has to be
called to account for the
reasons why such men have
been chosen.
But typically, the Wil-
liams strategy now appears to
be aimed at an even greater
self-projection. The effect of
pelting lash all round is to
allow his person to stand alone
inviolate in the welter of
The deliberate refurbish-
ing of an image sullied per-
manently since the events of
1970 and thereafter is being
attempted. Hudson-Phillips
managed to steal some of the
thunder in the pardoning of
the soldiers. A theft which may
well cost him dearly.
Turning a deaf ear to
the Trade Union Congressmen
who had made him declaretwo
states of Emergency, he ex-

pelled Otto Silva but left the
reality of CIA subversion in-
tact, nevertheless.
It's a festival of "con-
sultations" and inquiries these
days. Let the people talk, air
their grouses, propose solutions
to problems. But they must
always do so Bet among them-
selves but to the Executive
whether sitting in the chair as
Prime Minister or receiving the
report of Commissioners.
Williams affects sadness
that the Commissions of In-
quiry are attracting insufficient
interest to judge from attend-
ance. But the PNM is yet to
make an official appearance or
sawninign to the most im-
portant Commission of all, on
Constitution Reform.


In fact, the promise of
"concessions"on constitutional
or electoral reform merely
serves to shift the focus from
the Wooding Commission to
The Executive as the real locus
of decision-making on these
It is an attempt to under-
cut the real importance of the
Wooding Commission as the
focus of the agitation of
change. If indeed things like the
reduction of the voting age
and the reversion to ballot
boxes could be won by Execu-
tive "concession," then what is
the value of the Commission,
save to ADVISE like all the
The only thing is that
the country .is tired of this
.." .-rntdtf'Executive-presumption'-- .
And that is why all these
manoeuvres are likely to fail;
it is precisely the attitude of
kingly distance which sees
changes in terms of things
granted from above which is
at the bottom of the crisis


If all these Commissions
fail, it is not for want of
public spiritedness. The respon-
sibility for their failure and
the consequences of it will
rest with a government which
has shown only contempt for
the population's capacity and
determination to help our
selves out of the present
But even if people are
discouraged from taking up
their bed and walking, the new
Messiah image is being assiduous-
ly constructed.
Clearly the party is not
more than a jackass on which
to ride into town resounding
with popular hosannas. The
Second Coming is being pre-


Text Books...

91, Tunapuna Road, Tunapuna, Trinidad and Tobago.


Let our trained

- ~--`- -~ --


THE PRESS is itself one
of the biggest stories about
the place these days. And
not surprisingly the story
remains unwritten, the
facts under-reported.
This I feel is a
failing of the people who work
in the Press. And part of the
reason why we fail in this way
derives from the absence of a
quality I want to call "dis-
Owen Baptiste's speech
at JATT's recent luncheon-in-
honour, reported in this week's
Express, provides directly
and indirectly an.example
of what I am talking about.
His lament that "we
continue to create...a society
of cowboys and Indians" hits
at the very core of the prob-
lem: which is that of people
finding themselves forced to
grasp at grotesque over-
simplifications in trying to ex-
plain the world to themselves.
So that it is so often a
question of simply "we" or
"them"; of black or white; of
"bourgeois" or "grassroot"; of
"capitalists" and workingclass.
Discrimination is pre-
cisely that ability to distin-
guish the half-tones; to see
what we are trying to screw
into a round hole is in fact a
square peg.
Owen Baptiste sees the
danger in trying to divide the
world into "two-sector models"
of Indians and cowboys, or
good guys and bad guys.
But he falls easily into
the trap of easy categorization
when hewrites about the local
Press.Forhedefies two sectors



of the Press the "national
dailies" and the "weeklies" -
and proceeds to describe the
relations between the two as
characterized !by "scandalous
criticism" by the weeklies of
the other sector.
"The Vanguard has de-
nounced us (national dailies);
Tapia, Moko and the Bomb,
tirelessly and, I .repeat,
viciously" (sic).
So he writes. And here I
must take strong exception to
his attempt to have whatever
Tapia has had to say about the
Press considered in the same
light as those remarks by the
Bomb and Moko.
I must mention here that
it was I who had quite irrespon-
sibly introduced the concept
of the "unconventional Press"
writing in Tapia more than 18
months ago. It was irrespon-
sible because it did not clearly
derive from adequate analysis
of the Press.
Only so would I have
been able to make real dis-
tinctions where they exist
among the Press and save
critics from subsequently con-
fusing themselves about
whether "unconventional"

means occasional papers, deal-
ing more in opinion than in
news, or just any political
organ .
For "conventional" or
unconventional has nothing to
do with those things really.
The concept has to do with
certain assumptions about
themselves, about the society,
and indeed the world, which
are indicated by the kind of
journalism which has come
out of the twin traditions of
"elite" and "popular" Press
of the borrowed metropolitan


Time, political and social
change over the years and the
necessity to adapt to local
conditions have modified these
essential models. In some ways
for the better in other ways
for the worse.
The work as it stands is
to explore the extent to which
the Press today has assimilated
these influences and has
equipped itself to perform
adequately in this phase of
our history.
Take the Bomb, the Ex-
press and the Guardian and put
them against the British news-

papers The Guardian, Lon-
don Times, Daily Mirror, Daily
Express and News of the
World. You would see an
evident diffusion of journalis-
tic techniques and philosophy.
But I think a discri-
minating examination would
also take note of purely local
departures and variations from
the original themes. I have
often been struck, for example,
at the close resemblance of the
Bomb's style to that of a cer-
tain kind of virtuoso calypso-
nian, a thoroughly Trinidadian
kind of posturizing, based on
humour and gambage.
The unconventional Press
would come into being know-
ing all these things, informed
by a sense of its being a con-
tinuation of what had gone on
here, rather than something
altogether new.
The unconventional Press
indeed began its life with a rib
taken from the conventional
Even now there is great
cross-fertilization among the
newspapers. Journalists are
moving from paper to paper
The turnover in some editorial
offices must indicate a kind of
crisis in which the business
.stands right now.

Tapia, therefore, has
been suitably conscious of the
peculiarities of its origins as a
newspaper. Moko came about
to give the other side of the
Rodney Affair in 1968.
Journalism, as a depressed
area of the national life,
suffers from all kinds of
peculiar complaints. Not the
least of them derives from
there having been little in-
tellectual ferment aimed at
helping the journalist to gain
self-discovery and to determine
the real function he is to per-
form in a society that has a
proper appreciation of the
need for information and dis-
cussion to form the basis of
real freedom of expression.


Of course, the Press de-
serves to be attacked. But if
the attack is to serve any pur-
pose except to give release of
spleen, then it must address
itself to the real problems fac-
ing the Press and point to a way
positively, in the understanding
of all the elements that make
up the situation.
So often I am plainly
exasperated after reading the
daily papers. But what to do?
Compose a. trenchant letter to
the editor in order to "clear
the air"?
To me the most positive
thing is to search for the roots
of assumptions and the philoso-
phies behind the practices so
unconsciously perpetuated by
journalists like myself.


(AWA) THE United
States huffed and puffed
for a week and succeeded
in getting the UN General
Assembly to give priority
to the agenda point deal-
ing with "terrorism." But
it did so over the objec-
tions of the African, Arab
and socialist delegations.
In the vote to include
the item on the agenda, 17
African states were against, 11 -
abstained and five were ab- -. ,
sent. Voting for including the
item were the five Black Carib-
bean countries (Barbados,
Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica and
Trinidad and Tobago) and six.
smaller African countries.


The African Group had difficult to support the itei
tried to get unanimous opposi- even though it was introduce
tion on the item on Septem- by a memorandum fro
ber 21, but was umable to do Secretary-General Kurt Wal
so. But the vote showed where heim.
the overwhelming majority Most of the Afric
stood when only six (Chad, states had experienced foreign
Kenya, Liberia, Rwanda, domination, he told the coi
Swaziland and Togo) voted for mittee, and he cited Amilc
inclusion. Cabral who had pointed o'
Hady Toure, the repre- that the liberated portions
sentative of Guinea .on the Guinea (Bissau) were said b
General Committee, said the Portugal ,to be "occupied b
African states would find it terrorists."

Miriam Makeba Cubana

initiative of Fidel Castro,
Miriam Makeba was made a
citizen of Cuba earlier this
month. The event marked the
climax of Ms.i Makeba's tour
before enthusiastic audiences
on the island.
Conferring citizenship on
Ms. Makeba, Cuban minister
of foreign relations, Raul Roa,
told her, "Your voice is a uni-
versal voice, filled with the
suffering of Africa, Asia and

Why Africans

fear UN debate



Latin America. It expresses the
aspirations of all struggling
Accepting the presenta-
tion, Miriam replied, "In the
name of all African people, I
thank the Cuban people and
their leaders. I hope we will al-
ways be working together to
obtain our objectives against
the forces of reaction, im-
perialism, colonialism and neo-
colonialism in each and every
one of their forms."

The word "terrorism"
has become a new weapon
against oppressed people, he
said, adding that the item
"denies our history and the
struggle for which we have
given our lives." Moulaye el
Hassan of Mauretania, in a
speech to the committee, said
those who "struggle to recover

the freedom of their mother-
land" could not be described
as terrorists or saboteurs.
It rern:.ined for the dele-
gate of Ciub:, Alarcon Quesada,
to place lhe issue of terrorism
in historical perspective.
"To speak of terrorism
and violence in September,
1972 as if they were phenomena
that had recently emerged and
were limited to acts against
isolated individuals, particular
diplomats and the official
representatives of some govern-
ments, is merely to disregard
the realities of our contem-
porary world," the Cuban
diplomat declared.


"Those inhabitants of
territories subject to colonial
domination, or living in slavery
under apartheid, are they not
the objects of the worse ex-
pression of terrorism?"
Secretary of State William
P. Rogers said of the anti-
terrorism item:
"The issue is not war -
war between states, civil war,
or revolutionary war. The issue

is not the strivings of people
to achieve self-determination
and independence.
"Rather it is whether
millions of air travellers can
fly in safety each year. It is
whether diplomats can safely
carry on their duties. It is
whether international meetings
- like the Olympic games, like
this assembly can proceed
without the ever-present threat
of violence."


The South African re-
presentative, Carl S.G. von
Hirschberg, who voted for in-
scribing the item, had his own
interpretation of it. No matter-
how many delegates tried to
limit the form of terrorism to
be covered by the items they
had inscribed, his vote for it
did not accept such restrictions. "
South Africa has a special
"Anti-Terrorism Act" which
has been used to imprison
hundreds of African freedom
Terrorism is a two-edged
sword, and Africa wants to
make sure that the events in
Munich are not used as an
excuse to turn its charpest
edge against them. In this they
are also acting in the interests
of their Asian and Latin
American brothers.

NEW Hand Operated Coconut GRATERS


,. Phone: 38612
^ 42, Independence Square, P.O.S.
Phone: 37424

. I I i II

I, I I I i d I



WHETHER we like it or
not, developments in
Africa are bound to affect
us, for the populations of
the West Indies are in the
majority "African". The
development of "mass"
consciousness then will
certainly possess a strong
"African" content.
What creates the pro-
blems, however, is the fact
that these are nations in
the making where the tra-
ditional relationships bet-
ween and among groups
are being redefined. They
pose the classic problems
of a "plural" society; and
in the case of Trinidad and
Tobago in particular, they
raise once more the old
question of Afro-Indian
Until the 50's Afro-Indian
relations in Trinidad and
Tobago were a combination of
mutual tolerance and con-
tempt. Epithets like "coolie"
and "nigger" were reserved for
private conversations or
wearing contents. The Indian
was supposed to be backward,
stingy, violent and incapable of
intellectual achievement. The
African was believed to be a
spendthrift and rogue, without
Local Hindu mythology
which associated the African
with "rawan" gave solace to
those who wanted theological
support for their prejudices. By
and large, however, an uneasy
peace existed and Afro-Indian
relations up to the fifties could
be summarized as the phase of
peaceful coexistence.
It was the eruption of Party
politics in 1956 and the dra-
matic appearance of Dr.
Williams as the historian of the
negro and of slavery that
brought the question once
more to the fore. Thereafter
politics and political parties be-
came ranged on a racial basis
notwithstanding manifestoes
and slogans of multi-racialism.
The debate on independence
and the general elections of
1961 were instructive on the
potential for conflict between
East Indians and Africans.
It was the behaviour of the
D.L.P. as an "opposition"
party appealing to and based
on a distinct racial grouping
which paradoxically ensured
that the threat of East Indians
ever taking political power in
Trinidad and Tobago would go
At first sight then it might
appear that with the capitula-
tion of the D.L.P. the bone of
contention between Africans
and East Indians would have
been removed. Yet political
rivalry was only the surface ex-
pression of a more funda-
mental cleavage which lay in

Africa and

East Indians

in Trinidad

the society itself. This is why
Afro-Indian relations have still
to be worked out and why the
task of creating Afro-Indian
solidarity is an urgent one.


The recent wave of anti-
Asian feeling in Africa once
more forces the question on
our attention. Other writers in
this issue will be dealing with
the African and Asian points of
view. My intention is to en-
quire whether there are any
lessons for us in Trinidad and
Not surprisingly there has
been some local reaction.
General Amin and his policies
have been criticised by people
like Dr. Jagan of Guyana and
Mr. Dhanny and Dr. Ram-
charan of Trinidad.
On the other hand he has
been supported because, it is
argued by people like Mr. Olu
Agaja, the Indians of Uganda -
indeed of Africa have been
guilty of discrimination against
and exploitation of Africans.
I can only pose the question
whether Africans are not also
guilty of the same crime in
Africa or whether political ex-
ploitation of Africans by
Africans is just as heinous a
crime. What is significant, how-
ever, is the fact that such local
reaction as there has been, has
come from spirited individuals
rather than from the spokes-
men of important groupings
within the society. Why is this

There is no "Asian of the
Diaspora" such as exists among
the Jews, and now it seems,
among people of African des-
cent. It was the success of the
immigrant Indian which cut
him off from India. The ever-
present threat of anti-Semitism
kept Zionism alive, while the
inferior economic position to
which blacks have been as-
signed in Europe and elsewhere
feeds the feeling of kinship.
With the Indians of Trinidad
and Tobago it has been
different. India is still asso-
ciated with squalor and poverty
an area of darkness for

many. This is not to imply that
India has disappeared from the
minds of Indians in Trinidad.
What exists instead is a mytho-
logical attachment to India.
This is why they are such
devotees of Indian 'films that
are "Indian" only in song. The
loyalty of the East Indians here
is first and foremost to
Trinidad and Tobago. This is
the first difference from the
African situation.
The second concerns their
place in the economy. The
Asians in Africa, like the
Syrians, Europeans and
Africans especially in West
Africa, are prominent, too, in
retail trades and some figure as
captains of industrial and com-
mercial enterprise. In short,
they are as visible as the
Indians of Kampala or Nairobi.
The difference, however,
lies in the fact that for every
one Indian in the retail trade
there are about ten employed
as labourers on the cane fields;
and while a few may be promi-
nent as high income earners the
fact is that in 1960 median
monthly income of Indians was
put at $77, as compared with
$104 for Africans and $500 for
Europeans. See Tapia No. 1

No doubt until very re-
cently Indian employers em-
ployed only Indians. The ex-
planation is simply that a small
firm depended a great deal on a
family; and secondly that a
lower wage would have been
paid to the Indian.
In short the Indian em-
ployer exploited Indian labour
in the name of Indian solid-
arity. To have employed im-
partially as between African
and Indian would have been to
expose the employer to the full
force of the prevailing wage
The third difference has to
do with alliances. East Indians
in Trinidad and Tobago have,
on the whole preferred to
make political alliances with
the Africans rather than with
the whites; for by 1946 at least
the whites in Trinidad had
ceased to be a political force
and took instead to the politics
of the Chamber of Commerce;

by 1956 the East Indians were
themselves thinking of taking
political power.
The final difference concerns
the question of values. It is sig-
nificant that what triggered off
the Asian problem in Uganda
was the issue of passports and
citizenship although, as
subsequent events and pro-
nouncements by General Amin
would reveal, much more than
mere citizenship is at stake.
The East Indians and Africans
in this country have a different
scale of values is a well-known
fact; but difference of values
does not necessarily mean their


The legendary capacity of
the East Indians for thrift can
be a valuable contribution to
the savings of the community.
It is on the wider question of
culture that the greatest
difference is to be found.. East.
Indians are endogamous in
marriage, profess a belief in
Islam or Hinduism and
celebrate their appropriate fes-
tivals. It is differences such as
these which complicate the
question of Afro-Indian rela-
tions and the task of Afro-
Indian solidarity. This brings us
naturally to the events of 1970
and their aftermath.
In its early development the
Black Power movement in
Trinidad and Tobago was a
fierce assertion of the
"African" personality. This
was the phase that was distin-
guished for its poetry readings,
its African history and its sart-
orial mood. It was only when
the movement became in-
creasingly preoccupied with
local politics that an attempt
was made to incorporate the
East Indian into its analyses.

The movement was,
however, imprisoned within an
imported ideology and it took
time to adapt it to local cir-
cumstances. Terms like
"black" could hardly have
expected to strike a respon-
sive chord among the East In-
dians; nor could the anti-white
appeals of its leadership find a
ready audience among East
Indians who care much less for
European values anyway. The
initial response among East
Indians was one of indifference
and suspicion.
Today the East Indian com-
munity is going through its
"Black Power" phase. Groups
preoccupied with culture proli-
ferate. A Society for the Propa-
gation of Indian Culture (SPIC)
exists of the St. Augustine
campus of the U.W.I. Mission-
aries come and lecture while
devotees of Islam or Hinduism
make the pilgrimage to India.
Calls for proportional repre-
sentation have gone out and
invidious comparisons are
being made between the
amounts of time assigned to
culture or television.


Paradoxically the pre-
occupation of East Indians
with their own culture was the
natural outcome of the doc-
trines of the "Black Power"
movement. Had they not urged
Africans and East Indians to
turn their backs on alien
values? Indeed it seems that
without intending it "Black
Power" doctrines, at least in
the cultural sphere, have split
the communities apart. The
cultural renaissance among
East Indians may very well lead
to a closing of ranks. This is
the atmosphere in which
conflict may be bredfd.
Increasing economic com-
petition can, as it has, feed
ethnic rivalries. There are,
otherwise highly educated
people, who believe that
Afro-Indian solidarity necess-
arily means the division of
estates and plantations. It
would be tempting for a politi-
cal leader to promise the dis-
possession of one group and
the enrichment of another as
an excuse for its failure to pro-
vide economic incentives to a
dispossessed group. For it is an
easy solution and some people
prefer easier solutions to more
difficult ones. It is normal for
groups to compare their lot
with others. Where a group is
as visible as the East Indians
are, the problem of finding a
scapegoat could be a compara-
tively simple one.





Le Monde diplomatique
111 Frederick Street & Campus St. Augustine

~-p --I -o~r------C ~-------~e~ ----

- ~er




came from the Indian sub-
continent and made
Uganda their home, are
being expelled; those who
have been living in other
parts of East Africa are
under continued pressure
to leave. At a time when
these people of Indian ori-
gin find themselves in a
hopelessly difficult situa-
tion it may be worthwhile
to have a bird's eye view
of their history.
The ancient navigation
routes across the Indian ocean
based on regularly changing
monsoon winds facilitated di-
rect voyage between the west
coast of India and the east
coast of Africa and brisk trade
existed between these two
coasts of the Indian ocean cen-
turies before Christ. The PER-
SEA, written in the Middle
East around 100 A.D. provides
the names of ports and trading
centres of India, East Africa
and Arabia. The Ancient
Indians called East Africa and
'land on the Moon', brought
their cotton cloth and girdles,
grain, oil, sugar and ghee
(clarified butter) and bought
ivory, leopardskins, gold-dust
and sometimes slaves.
The Merchants of Western
India in medieval times ex-
changed their ceramic goods
with East African goods. In
fact, before the Portugese es-
tablished their supremacy in
the Indian Ocean at the close
of the fifteen century A.D. the
Indian and Arab traders were
very active on the East African
coast. According to Buganda
traditions of Uganda Indian
cups and plates, blue calico,
cowries (small shells), copper
plates, etc., were exchanged for
ivory as late as the eighteenth
During the reign of Said bin
Sultan of Muscat over Zanzibar
in the first half of the eighteen-
th century the Indians settled
in these parts got a complete
socio-economic and religious
freedom and strengthened their
banking, commerce and even
the retail trade on the East
African coast. By 1870 they
had complete control of this
trade and they even owned
small shops.
With the establishment of
British supremacy in India and
the Indian Ocean and even-
tually in East Africa in the
nineteenth century a new di-
mension was added to the
Indian's role in the economic
development of East Africa.
The British administrators and
Christian missionaries en-
couraged the Indian trade in
this area with the hope of
curbing the slave traffic from


In 1890 Uganda came under
the British sphere of influence,
three years later it was declared
a protectorate and between
1896 and 1901 the 582 mile
East African railway was com-
pleted. It was aimed at deve-
loping the area and suppressing
the slave trade. Even so, the
critics called it 'a lunatic line'
and many Africans dubbed it
'the great serpent'.
Since no local labour was
available the British looked to
India where for about half a
century Indian labourers and
technicians had been building


libourers to Mombasa and with -
it came Lieutenant-Colonel
J.H. Patterson whose book
'Maneaters of Tsavo' of 1907
gives us some idea of the hard-
ship the Indian workers on the,
railways underwent.
In December 1898, says Pat-
terson, there was 'a perfect
reign of terror' when lions
brought the railways works to
a complete halt for a few
weeks. Patterson's trusted
Indian helpers, Jamadar Ungam
Singh and Narain, and a score
of other Indians were killed by
lions and each victim got a
meagre sum of about 50 T.T.
dollars as compensation. A
terrified baboo (Indian railway
station master) on one occa-
sion sent a telegram to his su-
Speriors informing that he was
unable to do the signalling for
the trains because a man-eater
was trying to break into his of-
Other scourges to the Ildian
labourers were diseases 'ke
sleeping sickness, ,a: :ia,
dysentery, etc. One Idrs.
Stuard Watt wrote in 1912 that
the coast of Lake Victoria
Nyanza section of the railway
had "cost the lives of so many
Indians to build, for they died
like flies in the early days of
construction," but now it was
being used in "saving the lives
of tens of thousands of native
Savages." East Africa through
Contemporary Records edited
by Zoe Marsh (Cambridge
University Press, 1961) has a
photograph of Indians in dhoti
kurta (shirt)
and pagari (turban), cutting the
Uganda Railway near Voic in
September 1897. Most of these
Labourers were from the

By 1898 more than thirty
one thousand railway labourers
came from India under inden-
ture contract for three years
with an assurance of a free re-
turn passage in case they did
not choose to stay on in East
Africa. Some did stay on -
About seven thousand; but 79
per cent of the labourers re-
turned, were invilidated or
died. Winston Churchill, the
well known politician of
England, was later to write that
it was "by Indian labour that
the one vital railway on which
everything else depends was
By 1901 the East African
Protectorate had 35,000
Indians besides some dis-
charged railway workers and
troops. Sikh soldiers on their
return to the Panjab had en-
couraged their friends and
relations to emigrate to East
The contribution of Indians
to the economic development
of East Africa was indeed
great. Winston Churchill wrote
in 1908: "It is the Indian trad-
er who penetrating and main-
taining himself in all sorts of
places to which no white man
would go or in which no white
man could earn living, has
more than any one else deve-

~e4&~ ~ c +:





.I i;

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Britain's impetuous Prime
Minister, Lord Palmerston,
justified British military.
intervention in Greece on
behalf of a British citizen
of Maltese origin, with his_
defence of Civis Britann-
icus Sum.
With that proud stance, bor-
rowed from the tradition of
Imperial Rome, (Civis
Romanus Sum) he asserted,
and Parliament consented, that
a British citizen, wherever he
may be, no matter his origin,
was the undisputed responsibil-
ity of Her Majesty's govem-

This, to me, seems the cru-
cial factor that needs emphasis
over the expulsion of British
Asians in Uganda. So far the
British mass media has success-
fully managed to divert the at-
tention of the world to a mean-
ingless discussion about an im-
agined racialism by Africans in
According to the 'New
Statesman', a British weekly
journal, 'in the eyes of the
world a black head of state is
making a fool and racialist of
himself while South Africa and
Rhodesia are laughing'. But
who is the real racialist in this
unfortunate drama?
President Amin's statement
on the 4th of August, 1972 at
Tororo merely requested the-
British Government to take

loped the early beginnings of
trade and opened up the first
slender means of communica-
tion....It is the Indian banker
who supplies perhaps the lar-
gest part of the capital yet av-
ailable for business and enter-
In the first decade of the
twentieth century several
schemes were discussed by the
British to bring agricultural la-
bourers from India to develop
the land. Governor James
Hayer Sadler and the High
Commissioner of the Protecto-
rate, H. Johnston, were in fa-
vour of introducing Indian agri-
culturists into this area. In
1909 H. Hesketh Bell was sug-
gesting that the type of Indian
wanted in Uganda was the man
who was doing so well in Trini-
dad one used to the tropical

The Sanderson Committee
Report of 1910 went to the
length of suggesting that some
Indian prince or private mer-
chant should be encouraged to
develop a settlement in
Uganda. Had such a scheme
been accepted the Indian
would have been more at-
tached to the land, as in Trini-
dad or Guyana, rather than a
mere dukawala (shopkeeper).
But the racial prejudice of
some British officials prevented
such a development. Indeed,
these officials encouraged the
Indian to peddle goods and run
small shops (duka in Swahili
from dukan in Hindi). Ev-
entually many of them became
big manufacturers, importers
and exporters.
By 1910 the Urban areas of
Uganda developed a three tier

social stratification; the Euro-
pean administrators, profes-
sionals and big merchants at
the top;" the Indian small
traders and skilled workers at
the middle and the mass of
Africans at the h.'.it'om.


A vast majority of Indians
in Uganda are from the Gujarat
state of Western India. Most of
them speak Gujarati and
Cutchi, though Hindi and Urdu
are also spoken. The descen-
dants of soldiers and labourers
speak Panjabi. The majority of
the Uganda Indians maybe
compared to the Indian
businessmen who came volun-
tarily to the West Indies to
seek their fortune in late 1920s
and 1930s, contributed a good
deal to the development of
trade and commerce, retained
their Indian passport and
visited India once in a while to
find suitable daughters-in-law.
However, those who came
as labourers and eventually
took to gardening, vegetable
growing, etc., may be com-
pared in a way to the
indentured labourers who were
brought to the West Indies by
the British to help the
plantations to survive. In con-
trast to the Indians in Guyana,
Trinidad, Fiji and Mauritius,
the Indians in East Africa have
been a microscopic minority
and therefore they have been
more inward-looking.
Around 1959 and even later
the Indians in East Africa con-
stituted only 2 percent of the
total population, but they con-
trolled all retail trade and com-
merce and provided 45 percent
SCont'd on Page -10






--1^--1"-- ESTHER LE GENDRE-


THE FADED red, white
and black flag flaps from
the bamboo pole, its
shadow distorted on the
uneven road. Babes three
to five dance uncomfort-
ably from foot to foot on
the hot, sticky pitch. At
the peep of the whistle
they scamper off to the
length of twine stretched
across the road.
Two tables in a front yard
are heaped with prizes. At yet
another table one parent pre-
sides over free refreshments for
Winners and losers alike, spec-
tators too. Rings hidden in
plates of flour are brought
onto the track. The rack. The
race is announced: "today
boys will dip their mouths in,
flour, tomorrow they'll dip
One neighbour frantically
diverts traffic at one end of the

street: another, in dungaree
jumpsuit and polka dot tie
staggers about happily, clearing
the road of children. All is set
for the how-many metres
around the block.
Independence Day Sports in
Monte Grande, fifth annual
meet. The Monte Grande Wel-
fare Group convenes each year
to provide sporting fun for the
children of the village. But
sponsoring a sports meeting is
an expensive affair. Neverthe-
less except for a few prizes per-
sonally donated by the repre-
sentative for the area, the
entire freeness is the effort of
the village parents. A hot
mixture of calypso and funk
streams from the loud-speakers
in the gallery, and the emcee
continues his sparkling com-
mentary. It's ,the over-forty
race and an 88 year old grand-
mother sprints home ahead of
her daughter. And the children
scream; the pitch is soft under-

The action today is defi-
.nitely on the blocks. People are
beginning to realise that true-
r,)1," lies in self-development
and serf-dependence. This new
awareness gave birth to
Tunapuna's latest togetherness,
The Blackpool Sports and
Cultural Club began as a Foot-
ball Club. Jist over two years
ago the girls of the block de-
cided that they too wanted to
make their contribution. The
fusion brought about the
Blackpool Sports and Cultural
Club. The Club still maintains
its football side but with the
advent of the girls a very com-
petent dance-troupe originated,
so did the Afro-West Indian
choir. The Club finances itself
largely from subscriptions o f
members of the group unem-
ployed 10 cents, employed 25
cents. Occasionally there are
fetes and concerts.
The Club is constantly

seeking to entertain and to har-
ness the talents of the youths
in the area. Blackpool's at-
tempt to bring together the
many steelbands in the area
was christened "Bl-ckorama"
by Ronald Ashby, a member of
Club's organising Committee.
And so, one July evening
found the Hilltones, Flamin-
goes, Turban Brand and
Scherzando Steel Orchestras
together on the Blackpool
block. Playing to the large
eiowd. Also taking part in this
launching of Blockorama were
D. Y. Fatman George and the
1,000 Decades. The thing
about all these community
events is that they are all free.
A feeling of generosity per-
Come August and it was
Blockorama again, on St.
Vincent Street and at Fairley
Street. Encouraged by the
warm feel up on Tunapuna
Road, the steelbands got to-
gether again and Blockorama is
now an established community
affair in Tunapuna.

e wDorina



soft, light

and delicious.

Get into the age of comfortable living


Furniture & Appliances



I-r-- ---,_~-~~_ ~asl _b JB

- -- __ _~LC -----l--------a-ilr. ~--_ _I II


-.32-: sseS :>

*Birth of the Ballad

* Anti-Colonial

* The Dramatic TProtest

* Mirror of the Struggle

THE OLD styles of singing co-
existed uneasily with the new
as the battle for prestige con-
tinued in the world of Calypso.
Conservatives regretted the
slow death of the now tradi-
tional calypso which depended
on picong and improvisation,
while a younger generation
welcomed the birth of the
ballad or narrative calypso, and
the greater variety of forms
now available to the exponent
of the art of Calypso..


In the 1920's, too, the
organization of the tents led to
San increase of the traditional
middle-class patronage of the
calypsonian. Early in the
country, the Calypso had pro-
vided French Creole young
men with something to defend
against the inroads which a
Puritan and Anglo-Saxon ad-
ministrative elite were making
into the waning French Creole
culture in Trinidad.
_. Byu the 1920's frustrated
young colonials of various
backgrounds were realizing that
in order to liberate themselves,
they would have to liberate the
barefoot man, andthat in order
to find themselves they would
have to come to some terms
with the so-called "Jamette"


Middle-class jacket men as
they were called, seemed to
have enjoyed a certain pri-
vileged status in the reorgani-
zed tents of the twenties. Lord
Iere who was born in 1910 and
started singing in 1928, eight
years after Houdini and
Douglas, recalls days:

When people paid a penny
and four cents to sit in the
cocoyea tents in George,
Charlotte and St. Vincent
Streets, and in Belmont and
St. James, Calypso then
belonged only to the
"yards" and the jamette

It was pure love of the art
that made men like Atilla
and himself "go down" to
George Street to sing. They
were not of, that milieu.
Their parents bitterly resen-
ted these low excursions.
They were ostracised by
their friends.

But Singers alone could not
lift calypso out of the dregs
of society. lere remembers
that young men from the
colleges, the civil service,
the professions the
"Maple crowd" used to
go slumming in the tents.
Their friends began to fol-
low them. A special group
of young men set them-
selves up as a "board of cen-
sors" and often gave their
approval to or killed a song.
Some even wrote ditties for
their favourite singers. Soon
calypsonians began to be in-

vited to entertain at private
parties in the homes of the

The calypso tent was the
newspaper, lere said. Very
often the kings sang of
scandals in low places. But
frequently "decent" people
brought them hot tips from
high-society. A good calyp-
sonian would get his tip into
song right away and
astonish his audience. (59)

This board of middle-class
patrionising censors, was a re-
markable fact. That it was
allowed to function at all, was
probably due to the fact that
the calypsonians were flattered
to be "accepted" by the jacket
men, who were their only real
window into the remote world
of the rich.
It is also evident that a love
forscandal penetrated the
entire society, binding the pri-
vileged to the underprivileged
in a certain parochial pettiness
and malice.


Such, then, was the scene at
the end of the twenties.
Currents had been set in
motion which were to lead to
increasing sophistication of the
Calypso during the thirties and
forties. In 1929. Houdini left
Trinidad to take up residence
in the United States, and to

pave the way for wave after
wave of entertainers through-
out the thirties and forties.
The development of the re-
cording industry from the late
twenties onwards, the world-
wide popularity of Afro-
American Jazz which had al-
ready passed through some of
the stages from its roots in the
blues to an urban sophistica-
tion that people were not
recognizing in the evolution of
the Calypso as well, combined
with other forces to add to the
sophistication of the Trinidad

King Radio (Norman Span),
who started singing around
1926 (60), Beginner (Egbert
Moore) who began around
1925, Pretender, Lion (R. de
Leon) who started in the early
thirties, and Invader and Grow-
ler, figures of the mid and late
thirties, were all singers imbued
with a sense of professionalism,
and a sensitivity to their role as
entertainers. This is why the
thirties were an age of "resur-
A number of factors had
combined, to result in the
growing urbanity of what was
formerly a fundamental "folk"
form. The necessity to fit tunes
into the limited time available
on 78 r.p.m. records, for ex-
ample, forced the calypsonians
to limit themselves to four
stanzas and choruses, and may
have been as important in the
development of the pithy nar-
rative economy which emerged
in the Calypso of the 1940's as
"Railway" Douglas' individual
contribution to the emergence
of the so-called "ballad" (nar-
rative) style in Calypso.


Exposure to American style
Jazz improvisation in the bands
which accompanied these
calypsonians who had been
going to the U.S. to record
since the late twenties, also
accounted for some of the in-
novations which are so richly
displayed in the calypsoes of
the War years.
Important changes had also
been taking place in Trinidad
itself. Growing political con-
sciousness had led to repressive
legislation in the 1920's. There
was frequent talk about sedi-
tion, and as unemployment in-
creased in the thirties, political
agitators gained greater aud-
iences. The British adminis-
tration reacted by banning all
radical Trade Union literature,
and everything by Garvey, Pad-

more or any militant Black
group in the United States.
They also began to censor
Calypso tents, (6) and when
the Second World War broke
out, a great campaign was
launched in the Press to en-
courage loyalist sentiment in a
people recently emerging from
the Butler Riots of 1937.
As in World War 1, calypso-
nians sang in support of the
Allies throughout the War, and
returned to entertainment and
complaint. as soon as the Post-
War depression set in.

An entire new generation of
calypsonians had emerged dur-
ing the War. The presence of
American Bases in Trinidad re-
sulted in a brief crash pro-
gramme of employment for
labourers, prostitutes and
night-club entertainers. As was
the cause with Jazz and the
Blues, the growth of a night-
club industry resulted in the
development of the various
formsof popular entertainment.
To the Calypso was added the
dimension of fantasy and im-


The new singers included
such names as Dictator, Kitche-
ner, Tiger, Wonder, Destroyer,
Spoiler, Invader, Melody, Vi-
king and Zebra. These new
names competed with the older
contenders such as Pretender,
Lion, Beginner and Atilla, so
that the late forties was an ex-
ceedingly rich mixture of styles
and themes. Police censors con-
tinued to visit Atilla's tent
every season, as the Calypso
began to be refined into a
weapon of protest against
colonialism, while Spoiler,
Panther and Melody
maintained in Calypso the
spirit of the street-corner lime,
ole talk and barrack-yard hum-
our. Narrative art was already
highly developed, several calyp-
sonians showing an ability to
blend dialogue with passages of
pure narration.

Executor, who had sung his
first calypso in 1901 on the
death of Queen Victoria (62),
was by 1950, a legend whom
many seemed to have heard
about, but for whom few
seemed to care. Negotiated and
half blind, he summed up the'
difference between the
calypsoes of his day and those
of the 1940's:

In my time 30 or 40 years
ago calypsoes were more
factual; we sang mostly on
local topics. Now the songs
are mostly things of
imagination. (62)

Another conservative commen-
tator noted in 1946 changes in
the form of the calypso:

I find, however, that the
calypso as a form of art is
changing from what we
knew -it to be, and is
entertaining a new phase on
which we cannot yet
express any formed opinion.
Other folk tunes are being
woven into its fabric. Like
some of the twentieth-
century poet s, painters and
scientists, some of our
calypsonians seem to have
begin to experiment on
their art. There is a
tendency among them to
dazzle and amuse not to
create and develop ....

I have also observed that the
impromptu art which




TAPIA, VOL. 2 No. 1 and VOL. 2 No. 2 -

appeal to those responsible
for the performance to re-
store the touches that serve
to intensify the folk-quality
of the songs. (64)


What both commentators
are noting here is the irrever-
sible movement away from a
sort of "folk" culture, to a
semi-urbanized one. Tourism,
commercialism and profes-
sionalism have done much to
accelerate this movement since
the forties. After the occupa-
tion of Trinidad in the forties
by American soldiers, younger
calypsonians developed styles
to suit their audience.
In January 1948, Spoiler,
Viking, Wonder, Zebra,
Melody, Killer and Dictator,
broke away from the Old
Guard of Atilla, Lion and
Radio, to form their own tent,
the Calypso Rendezvous,
which was situated at 100 st.
Vincent Street. They called
themselves the Young Brigade
- the Old Guard were then
singing at the Victory tent, also
on St. Vincent Street.
Apart from this, there had
been in 1946 the House of
Lords Calypso Tent on 95
Edward Street, which boasted
a balanced diet of the tradi-
tional and the new, containing
such names as Radio, Lord and
Lady lere, Railway Douglas,
Pretender, and the perennial
Executor, as well as newcomers
Spoiler (Theophilus Philip)
Melody (Fitzroy Alexander)
and Wonder (Atwell).
In other words, the forma-
tion of the Young Brigade in
the late forties indicated that
the movement away from the'
traditional was well-nigh
absolute. Mitto Sampson seems
not to have had a very high
opinion of the Young Brigade.
He praised the old-time talent
of Atilla contrasting it with
what he saw as the mediocrity
of the new brigade:
Atilla the Hun (the Hon.
Raymond Quevedo) is the
Shakespeare of calypso. He
is the greatest exponent of
the art in the world. Ih a
field bristling and bubbling
with fierce competition, he

- ------

constitutes calypso singing
is becoming somewhat dis-
torted. It does not seem to
be regarded as a specialty as
in former times; not perhaps
the calypsonians themselves
are not to blame; for the
present musical accom-
paniment which has to
haunt and inspire these art-
istes when they are under-
going the test of singing on
subjects off-hand, lacks
much of the African-
inspired rhythms, the
beauty of syncopation and
that harmonious buoyancy
with which the flute, the
violin, the guitar, the cello,
the bottle and spoon, and
other tinpanic instruments
were able to stir the veteran
calypso-artistes of many
years ago. (63) (My italics)


Two years earlier, Alfred
Mendes, a novelist who had
been part of the cultural move-
ment of the thirties, had noted
basic changes in the form of
the Calypso:

I regret the disappearance of
the female chorus: voices
swinging and swaying,
bottles and sticks aggravat-
ing the gusto of the refrain,
faces agitated with the neu-
rotic pulse of the music;:
nowhere else could you pos-
sibly have seen the likes of
it in a similar setting. I

towers like an unassailable
Titan, with no rival past or
present to challenge his
pro-eminence in that sphere.
Atilla pours his soul furious-
ly into his creations.... He's
a satirical wizard; a laugh
ing, enraged philosopher;...
a vicious iconoclast.

He has placed the spotlight
on nepotism in the Civil
Service, and mercilessly
flayed British Imperialist
policy. Exposing injustices
is his passion. Nothing is too

sacrosanct or too common-
place to escape his melo-
dious cannonade; he has en-
lightened the bourgeoisie on
yard room amours and cata-
pulted bourgeoisie scandals
to the public. (65)

On the other hand, Sampson
felt that:

with the ... upsurge of the
Young Brigade we witnessed
a complete metamorphosis
of tunes and topics. Pander-
ing to the U.S.A. soldiers'
taste for salacious details,
the young cavalcade un-
leashed a cavalcade of torrid
and harmonious pornogra-
phy. Many of their innuen-
does were so thinly veiled
they replied; others were
raw, flat lewd, but always
catchy and spicy. People
from every stratum of soci-
ety jam-crammed the tents
to hear the youths sing on
Lesbianism, conjugal dis-
cord as a result of Yankee
infiltration, queer perver-
sions, barrack yard episodes,
and the predilection of local
belles for American lads.

Most of them were topical,
a few original, all exciting,
stimulation and heavily sea-
son with sex, humour and
scandal. Here and there a
little rancour crept in, but
hilarity and exposure trans-
cended every other quality.
A night in the tent was a
pleasant diversion from
tensed daily routines. (65)


Sampson goes on to describe
the calypsonian of this period
as the "gossip artiste" of the
tents, and there is no doubt
that the language, tones of,
voice and characteristic poses
of the scandal-monger, helped
give the Calypsoes of the late
forties and early fifties their
For example, the calypso-
nian would usually adopt the
pose of a disinterested listener,
or of a newspaper reporter who
is always on the spot, or of one
who has been told hot news by
a reliable source, or of a

barrack room dweller who
cannot help but overhear what
is going on in bed next door.


In recent times, these poses
have been shaped into a subtle
satiric device of Hollis Liver-
pool, (Chalkdust) a school
teacher calypsonian, who has
adopted the mantle of Atilla,
as social and political commen-
tator and iconoclast It was in
the forties and fifties that the
calypsonian learned to mask,

to employ the dramatic "I.." It
was an extension of narrative
method, such as Railway
Douglas helped initiate in the
This general introduction to
the development of the
Calypso up to the 1940's has
tried to show how the form of

the Calypso has in every gene-
ration reflected the social
forces at work in the calyp-
sonians' milieu. It has sought
to trace the development of
the Calypso from its roots in
the kalinda, through the
ritualised verbal contests of the.
the oratorical calypso, the
struggle for the English lan-
guage which was waged early
in the twentieth century, the
relation between the Calypso
and the rich oral tradition of
what was originally a multi-
lingual community.
The Calypso can be seen as a
mirror of the struggle for an
egalitarian society in Trinidad,
and is closely connected in
...- each .d ecad sithJes&~l~epSrni1.
quest for manhood and
identity. It has been asserted
that the politics of decolonisa-
tion helped expand the scope
of the Calypso, by providing
direction and rhetoric, and by
giving shape and point to what
used to be misdirected

(41) Jayawardena C., Conflict
and Solidarity in a Guianese
Plantation, London 1963.
(42) Elder J.D., op. cit., p. 123.
(43) Quevedo R., op. cit.
(44) Jones P., op. cit.
(45) Langer W., The Diplomacy
of Imperialism, Knopf, N.Y.
1965 Ch. III [Third Edi-
(46) Lamont N., Problems of
Trinidad: A Collection of
Speeches and Writings, Trini-
dad, 1933, p. 31.
(47) Ibid., p. 34.
(48) Ibid., p. 36.
(49) Wyatt, H.F. "The Ethnics of
Empire," The Nineteenth
Century Vol. 41, No. 241,
(April, 1897) pp. 516 530.
Wyatt, H.F., "God's Test by
War," The Nineteenth Cen-
tury, Vol. 76, No. 451 (Sept-
ember, 1914) pp. 499 -
(50) Lamont P., op. cit., p. 104.
(51) Mentor R., "A Study of Mr.
James's Political Biography,"
The Beacon, Vol. II, No. 6,
(October November;
1932) p. 16
(52) Jones P., op. cit.
(53) Words reprinted in Trinidad
Guardian, February 9, 1964.
(54) Hill E., The Trinidad Carni-
val, p. 65.

The effect of recording and
Jazz type accompaniment has
been hinted, though this area
remains to be investigated.
Also the formal developments
which started in the late
twenties and led to the
innovations of the thirties, and

the flowering of a whole new
brigade of calypsonians in the
forties, need to be traced in
some detail.
The effects of the American
occupation, tourism and the
growing professional slickness
of the calypsonian, on the
form and tone of the Calypso,
have been merely hinted.
Indeed, the fortiesare a-period
deserving separate study es-
pecially the period of post-war
depression, unemployment,
violence and wildcat politics,
all of which left their mark on
the Calypso.
Finally, there is the growing
individualism, part of the so-
phistication of the urbanisat
.-- 9n o process which has always
lain behind and^eaitfThei '""
velopment of the Calypso. Any
study of the contemporary Ca-
lypso will have to consider this
individualism as a major fea-
ture of the present era, and to
assess the effect of commercial-
ism on the art form today.

(55) Ibid., p. 66.
(56) See Reference No. 33.
(57) Quevedo R., "The Golden
Era of Calypso Resurgence,"
Trinidad Guardian, 9 Febru-
ary, 1964.
(58) Hill E., "The Gipsy Calypso
King Wants to Return,"
Trinidad Guardian, 11 Feb-
ruary, 1968.
(59) Roach E., "Lord lere: He is
Kaiso," Trinidad Guardian, 4
February, 1964.
(60) Roach E., "Today's Kaiso-
nians Lack Polish," Trinidad
Guardian, 30 January, 1967.
(an interview with Norman
Span, King Radio).
(61) Calder-Marshall A.,, Glory
Dead, Michael Joseph,
London 1939, pp. 172 -
(62) Naipaul S., "Almost Blind,
Lord Executor Hums Calyp-
soes to Himself," Trinidad
Guardian, 16 February,
(63) Best J.R., Trinidad
Guardian, February 24,
(64) Mendes A., "If Calypso is
Folksong it Should be En-
couraged," Trinidad
Guardian, 13 February,

(65) Sampson M. "Old and New
Calypsoes Compared," Trini-
dad Guardian, 30 January,



I -


IN AUGUST, 1959, a few
months after the triumph
of the Cuban Revolution,
rebel leader Camilo
Cienfuegos (who dis-
appeared in an air crash in
September of the same
year) visited the village of
Meneses in the north of
Las Villas province.
Cienfuegos had led a bitter
struggle in the region against
the army of dictator Fulgencio
Batista. In the village of
Yaguajay, only five miles from
Meneses, his guerrillas scored a
major victory over Batista's
During his visit to Meneses
"the hero of Yaguajay," held a
public meeting at which he
asked the people to repair the
local school and promised that
"a better one, where the
children can receive a full edu-
cation" would be built.
The school promised by
Ceinfuegos, one of the most
loyal and beloved of Fidel
Castro's comrades in arms, was
opened seven months ago.
And the Meneses school is
to pave the way for a new
trend in the Cuban educational
system: it is to be the first
primary school which will
combine study with work.
Together with classrooms,
dining hall, laboratories and a
sportsground, the school has
37 acres of land, which will
perform the role of an educa-
tional workshop.
Pupils from the fourth to
sixth grade will be divided into
two groups for agricultural
work in plots where they will
sow maize, cucumber, onions,
tomatoes and other products.
They will work for two
hours at a time. The school has
a big dressing room with
showers where they will be
able to change clothes before
returning to the classroom.
Right from the beginning
the visitor has the impression
that he is seeing a new kind of
school. The pupils show re-
markably high morale and dis-
These qualities are main-
tained by the children both in
the classroom and in the fields,
which are the focus of at-
tention not only for the
children, but also for their
parents and teachers.
Work on the plots is well or-
ganized. There is an administra-
tive structure formed by a
director, an agricultural tech-
nician and five workers who do
the heaviest and most difficult
The pupils have a parallel
organization to govern their
work in the fields. A schoolboy
administrator, deputy adminis-
trator and personnel chief are
in charge of it.
Only seven months after the
school's opening the plots are
making the school dining room
self-sufficient in vegetables.



But besides that the
children supply the workers'
canteens in the village (pop.
2,000) and some of their pro-
duce is being sold for general
consumption by the villagers.
Manuel Rodriguez, aged 13,
"Manolito" to his friends, is
the pupil in charge of agri-
cultural work. He takes the at-
tendance, directs work and is
responsible for the mainte-
nance of discipline during the
work on the plots.
"I like working in the
country. I've always lived in
the country and my daddy's a

peasant. When I'm bigger I
want to go to the Camilitos
military school. I want to be a
"The pupils work very well
in the plots. Sometimes you
have to call one of them over,
ask him to see you later, then
explain to him why you can't
behave badly at work. They
respect me, but not for any-
thing special. Just because I'm
doing my duty, that's all."






Together with the organiza-
tional problems of the plots
and study, the teachers have
had to face up to another pro-
blem, one which wasn't ex-
The kindergarten children,
and the first, second and third
graders, all want to work in the
fields as well.
After consulting with the
Education Ministry the
teachers got permission for the
little ones to spend an hour a
week in the fields.
Politically, the school is of
major significance for the

people of the village.
The parents participate en-
thusiastically in the work of
the school.
They organise themselves in
teams to do voluntary work on
the allotments, above all when
the children are on holiday.
Every term, the pupils,
parents and teachers gather to
discuss school business and to
evaluate the educational
benefits the children have
The youth of the teachers
can be assessed from the fact
the headmistress, Natalia Diaz,
is aged 22.
Now the school is a talking
point for all Cuba.

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i i H I






Making a new home in Britain...

over responsibility for her citi-
zens of Asian origin living in
Uganda. But because the
British public is up in arms
against people of colour, the
impending influx of British
Asians threatened a serious
socio-political crisis and this
the British Government was
not prepared to accept. The
British Government would
Shave preferred to smuggle these
unwanted citizens in trickles so
as not to cause alarm among
the racially conscious British
public, Quite clearly, this is not
Amin's headache.

If the British Government
fears chickens of colour com-
ing home to roost, that is its
own problem. To try and solve
her racial problems at the ex-
pense of other nations is unten-
able. Her request to West
Indian Governments to accept
some of these British citizens
ought to' be treated with the
contempt it deserves, consider-
ing that the Commonwealth
Immigration Act in Britain was
passed to stop West Indians,
among other people of colour,
from entering Britain.
According to Mr. Ronald
Bell of the Monday Club Immi-
gration Committee: 'These so-
called British Asiatics are no
more and no less British than
any Indian in the bazaar of
Bombay.' 'Britain is under no
obligation to accept THESE
people', said Mr Harold Sore of
the same Committee. Accord-
ing to Mrs. Joy Page, chairman
of the Immigration Control
Association, the Government
should recognizee the right of
:Britain's.people not to be

crowded out with high birth-
rate immigrants'. This schizoph
renic attitude of the British to
race issues was soon taken up
by the media.
Alarmist and emotive head-
lines became the order of the
day. The 'MAIL' wrote of a
'dangerous and unwanted flood
of new immigrants'; the 'OB--
SERVER', of a 'dilemma'. Ac-
cording to the 'WOLVERH-
AMPTON EXPRESS' it is only
the passports that are British
and not the people'.
GRAPH' chose to report the
case of aircraft loaders dealing
with Asians' flights, who wan-
ted 'monkey money' (Asians
considered monkeys) for hand-
ling 'obnoxious cargoes'. It
we are not suggesting that
all the luggage will be riddl-
ed with vermin but we want
to be sure that nothing will
be catching. I have had one
or two reports in the past of
our members catching bugs
after handling luggage.
The 'SUN' summing up the
mood in Britain, wrote: 'It
may well be that plane-loads of
terrified and crushed people
will arrive, to a welcome of
hatred and menace'. These are
the fundamentals which the
media have so far successfully
managed to sweep under the
carpet. Plane loads of British
citizens arriving home to a wel-
come of hatred and menace.
At Independence 10 years
ago, the Asians had a hand-
some opportunity to show
their faith in the country
where most of them were born.
The British Government offer-
ed them citizenship and they

were trusting enough to accept
it. That they are British re-
mains true even though subse-
quent British Governments
have attempted and are at-
tempting to placate the racial-
ist lobby in Britain by retro-
spectively invalidating that
offer and introducing a racial-
ly-based quota systemfor the
exercise of their rights of citi-
The racialist glass house
erected by the Commonwealth
Immigration Act of 1968 is a
most uncomfortable one from
which to throw any stones, and
British politicians and their co-
horts in the media should re-
member their attitudes towards
that Act before holding forth
about the racialism of Amin.


Suggestions ,that Britain
should suffer their admission
for reasons of compassionand
humanity smack of analytical
imbecility. These people are
British citizens and they have a
right to enter Britain.
Thus Mr. Heath's attempt,
unsuccessful so far, to haggle
over the. manner and measure
of admitting British citizens
into Britain smells of a machia-
vellian reversal of a time-
honoured policy. It is to be
hoped that Britain will accept
her burden with grace and an
attitude befitting its claims to
being civilised.
British responsibility apart,
the questions for Uganda and
Africa which General Amin
and his advisers must consider
are the overall racial implica-
tions of the aftermath of the
expulsion order of these British
citizens. This is a particularly
sensitive issue.
First because of the large
numbers of Asians both in East
Africa and Southern Africa
who one hopes in consequence
of the Uganda experience,
might begin to think of Africa
as their home. But of more im-
portance is the likely creation
of an atmosphere where the
prejudices of colonial expe-
rience could get unleashed.
Those that have sought
without more to accuse
Africans of racialism deny a
historical perspective to their
analysis. Hence the moronic
conclusions. Any in-depth and
meaningful analysis of the
Uganda crisis requires a his-
torical grounding.


General Amin, in his mes-
sage to the, Nation on August
5, 1972 stated: "....No country
can tolerate the economy of its
nation being so much in the
hands of non-citizens as is the
case in Uganda today. The
Asian community has frustrat-
ed attempts by Ugandan
Africans to participate in the
economic and business life of
their country.
"Asians have used their
economic power to ensure that
the Ugandan Africans are effec-
tively excluded from partici-
pating in the economic life of
their own country. They have

refused to identify themselves
with Uganda. For instance, at
Independence, when they were
offered the chance to become
Uganda citizens, the majority
rejected the offer.
"Some of the few who
became citizens of Uganda, did
so onlyhalf-heartedly as theyhad
no faith in this country and
also remained citizens of other
countries. Asians have kept
themselves apart as a closed
community and have refused
to integrate with Uganda-
Africans. Their main interest
has been to exploit the
economy of the country. They
have exported illegally large
sums of money from this
These are not Amin's ima-
gined criticisms. These are ser-
ious and real failures on the
part of the,Asian communities
in these regions. One sees for
instance the Asian community
in Rhodesia voting, during the
Pearce Commission, over-
whelmingly in favour of Britain
granting independence to the
white minority government of
Ian Smith.
This' mimlicry-of white -
attitudes or the desire to be
considered as neo-whites and
therefore better than Africans,
has also contributed greatly to
the unstable relationship
between the two communities.
In requesting the South
African government to accept
some of the British citizens
being expelled from Uganda,
the South African Asian com-
munity stated publicly that
such a gesture on the part of
the South African government
will give a lie to the accusation
that South Africa is a racialist
society. Such is the thinking of
the Asian community in these
regions. It is small wonder that
relations between them and
Africans have reached the stage
they have in Uganda.
Coming to the economic
argument referred to by Amin,
there is no doubt that the
Asian community of Uganda
dominates an important sector

of the country's commercial
life. Rather than see in this the
historical factors that created
this dominance, many seem to
be under the illusion that
Asians occupied these dominat-
ing positions by sheer hard
work and a superior disposition
towards commerce.
On the contrary, the
colonial system favoured their
dominance. Only the mentally
unbalanced could fail to make
a success under such embarrass-
ingly favourable conditions.


Under colonialism, Asians
were given preference for
business licenses when similar
opportunities were denied
Africans. Banks discriminated
against Africans in favour of
Asians. There was extensive job
discrimination. Where whites
could not be found to fill the
lower ranks of the civil service,
expatriate business enterprises
etc., Asians were preferred to
The same pattern still
operates in Rhodesia. Such pre-
ference sometimes extended to
social amenities. For instance,
Asin. ,aand rulattoe$ in
Rhodesia are allowed in white
cinemas on condition they oc-
cupy the first row front seats.
This systematic discrimina-
tion in favour of Asians or the
few mixed races created
through the years a middle
class that tends to perpetuate
itself. It is this factor more
than their shrewdness in
business that has given them
this dominating position in
commerce. As one observer
commented to the nonsensical
argument about the Asians'
innate commercial prowess -
'how come have India and Pakis-
tan, where the majority reside,
not distinguished themselves in
their wizardry as commercial
nations'. The truth of the mat-
ter is that definite concrete fa-
ctors in the colonial situation
gave them this advantage. Thus
inquiries about whether

SCont'd on PAGE 10

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The result of imperial policy


From Page 4

of the total managerial, admin-
istrative and technical man-
power of Kenya, Tanganyika
and Uganda. Unlike the West
Indies where the Indians have
been settled in the rural areas,
the Indians in East Africa re-
mained concentrated in the
urban areas, only a few trading
in the interior.
In Uganda 75 percent of the
Indians have been living in the
urban areas. Naturally there-
fore, all the prominent houses

in Nairobi, Dar-es-Salaam and
Kampala have been owned by
Indians. This is said to prevent
the inflow of Africans to the
towns, creating resentment
among them. However, it is
noteworthy that 11 percent of
Asians in East Africa live on a
subsistence level in slums of
Nairobi and Mombasa.


The problem of Indians in
East Africa is by and large a
legacy of British colonial rule

in Africa and Asia. It is true
that many Indians came to
East Africa voluntarily, but, as
in Uganda, the British purpose-
ly, through their policy of seg-
regation, kept them apart.
Thus in 1919 when Governor
R.T. Coryndon nominated un-
official members to the first
Legislative Council of Uganda
he got one Asian unofficial,
but totally ignored the
Africans in spite of the latter's
numerical superiority.
In 1940s and 1950s Ja-
waharlal Nehru as the spokes-

man of India asked the Indians
in Africa to identify themselves
with the local population be-
cause he was a great supporter
of the Afro-Asian solidarity
and was for an identity be-
tween African and Asian
nationalism, but he could not
forsee the cry of Africa for
Africans. In the 1960s and
later the independentgovern-
ments of East Africa have
been passing
measures against the Indians
and of late even those indians
who had made East Africa

their home are being uprooted.
Presumably when the pas-
sions and prejudices will dis-
appear the contributions of In-
dians to the buil,",~g of East
African ecor.oi,.y will be re-
called: the cites with an Indian
aichetectural stamp, the tem-
ples of Hindus, the gurudwaras
of Sikhs, tl, mosques of Mus-
lims and the Mausoleums of
saints (faqirs) like Syed Bagh
Ali Shah will tell their tale and
every inch of the Uganda
Railway will recall the Indian
blood, toil and sweat.



From Page 9

Africans will manage without
them are nonsensical prognosti-
cations finding sustenance in
This very favoured position,
though demeaning, where
Asians enjoyed the left overs
ofthecolonialmasterswhich left
overs were denied Africans,
created in them a sense of su-
periority over' their African
counterpart. Thus one finds
the Asian community, as is still
happening in Rhodesia, per-
haps for fear of losing these
'privileges', holding tenaciously
to a position of non-involve-
ment in African liberation
Mutatis mutandis, the
Africans looked upon the
Asians with justifiable suspi-
cion. The final insult came
with the refusal of most of the
Asians to take up citizenship
when political power was re-
transferred to the Africans.


As Africans saw it, such be-
haviour was symptomatic and a
final confirmation of their his-
torical role as traitors to the
African cause. It was in their
estimation a no confidence
vote in the Africans' capacity
to run their countries.
From the Asian point of
view, a recognition of their
historical role as middle man of
the colonialists, under-
standably made them feel in-
secure under the government
of a people they had consider-
ed their inferiors during the
hey day of colonialism. But

their further rejection of India
and Pakistan in favour of
Britain seems to suggest that
they had become so brain
washed by playing second
fiddle to the colonialists that
they truly began to think and
feel British. In consequence
India and Pakistan, despite
their problems of over-
population, feel no special
commitment to them.


This disastrous short-
sightedness should more be
shared by Britain who offered
them counterfeit British citi-
zenship at a decisive moment
in their lives. But for the
British seduction at the
approach of independence, the
Asians would have had a simple
choice before them becom-
ing Ugandan citizens and so ex-
pecting to share in the for-
tunes, good or bad, of the
young nation or quitting the
country quietly with minimum
bitterness along with their
British protectors.
Having inveigled them into
their present predicament, the
onus lies unequivocally on the
British government to honour
its pledge. Surely, Asians are
not citizens only when Britain
needs them as colonial ploys
and foreigners when they need
Britain for their survival
It is only in the light of this
experience that one can ap-
praise with rationality whether
Amin's action over these
British citizens was motivated
by reasons of racism. Indeed
some befuddled thinkers have
sought to discredit African op-

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IN SOMALIA, East Africa,
President Mohamed Siad
Barre (left) who came to
power in 1969, claims that
the country's most worth-
while achievement since
then has been the reor-
ganization of the society
as a national entity.
Speaking to PRENSA
LATINA correspondent
Irma Caceres recently,
Barre mentions another
notable achievement: his
government "has been
able to arouse political

"We have been able to
convince the country that
its enemies are, in order of
importance, disease, ig-
norance and hunger," said
President Siad Barre.
On the second and
coming decades of the
revolutionary process in
Africa, the Somali Presi-
dent felt what was needed
was that Africa should
think about unit).
Below: Somali armed
f.irces on parade.


position to the white regimes
in Southern Africa by making
cretinous analogies with the
Uganda crisis.
The International Com-
mission of Jurists came strong-
ly against such imbeciles. It
said: 'it recognized that the
motivation was linked with
Africans' aspirations for free-
dom and independence and
Uganda's desire to control its
own economy. The action was
not to be compared, therefore,
with the racialist doctrines and
practices of South Africa,
Rhodesia and the Portugese


Right in principle though
Amin's action is for every
state has the right to expel un-
desirable aliens one has to
take into consideration the hu-
manitarian aspect of the pro-
blem. It is human beings -
men, women and children one
is dealing with; in consequence
principles should not be al-
lowed to operate in a vacuum.
Recognition of this lead Presi-
dent Kenneth Kaunda of Zam-
bia to refer to the expulsion as
'terrible, horrible, abominable
and shameful'.
President Nyer who him-
self is faced with a similar pro-
blem has sought to approach it
differently. He expropriated in
1967 some businesses belong-
ing to Asians as part of the so-
cialisation of all large busines-
ses, Asian, European or
African. Many Asians have
since left Tanzania because
they feared not racialism but
President Nyerere's policy
has been clearly expressed in

an article for the Nationalist of
February 14, 1967 entitled
'Socialism is not racialism'. To
quote a few passages:
Fascism and racialism can
go together but socialism
and racialism are incompat-
ible. The reason is easy to
see. Fascism is the highest
and most ruthless form of
the exploitation of man
by man. It is made possible
by deliberate efforts to
divide and set one group of
men against another group.
"We in Tanzania have to hold
fast to this lesson especially
now as we advance on the
socialist road. For it is true
that because of our colonial
history the vast majority of the
capitalist organizations in this
country are owned and run by
Asians or by Western Euro-
peans. Twenty years ago we
could have said that all the cap-
italists in this country were
from those areas. We cannot
say this now for the truth is
that capitalism and capitalist
attitudes have nothing
whatsoever to do with the race
or national origin of those who
believe in them or practice
Thus Nyerere has succeeded

in defusing the problem of the
dangers of racialism by concen-
trating on the socialisati6n of
economic activities. Unfor-
tunately for Amin, he does not
have such an option because he
is no socialist. He wants to
create a capitalist class of citi-
zens. It is this dilemma which
has provoked the crisis.
Whatever the merits of these
approaches, the essential point
to bear in mind is that these
Asians are, in the final analysis,
helpless victims of an unscrup-
ulous imperial policy. Today,
Asians and Africans form part
of the Third World, whose
peoples are still struggling to
recover from colonial exploi-
tation and de-humanizing racial
They have every need to
stand together, not apart. In
his bid to 'teach Britain a les-
son', General Amin needs to
display as much diplomacy and
humanity as he has so far
shown firmness. The blow
aimed at Britain must not be
allowed to rebound on the sol-
idarity of the Third World or
disturb the cordial relationship
between Africans and Asians in
general. KAMPALA


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21 Mathura St., St. James

i ~c~ P~p~--' L II IlseI ill

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PLAISANCE Road winds off t
Old St. Joseph Road, narrow, i
sides crowded with houses th
could, rusty galvanize box-boa
windows and all, fall, of neo
sity, into the street. Small, mac
up houses but if ever one w
to fall it couldn't help but ta
up all the street.
Suddenly the road seems
widen. But this is only an ill
sion. What really happens is th
the houses drop back on eith
side leaving exposed on t
right a biggish spot of hard, r(
land through which the tra
that took me to school, passed.
Here, too, was the tree
under which I saw men like
Spree, Reece, Little and Big
Drums, Bull Pancup, Dahawa,
Black James and others. I saw
them at a distance. So
whatever knowledge I have
now of their activities at that
time comes from a friend of
mine who mingled with the
men without fear of a beating
from his parents. His name was
Rouff. Anthony Rouff.
From Rouff, I learnt that
most of these men worked in
the abattoir or as some call it,
the slaughter. He was right,
for, in the mornings and at
-lunch time they used to get
into the old train carriages
opposite the abattoir and beat
out a rhythm from old iron
brake drums which they got
from Kehela's scrapyard. They
also used to use their knives,
piece of steel which all
butchers carried and oil tins
into which they put their ends
of meat and other ingredients
for making black pudding.

So Spree was in steelband
even at this early stage. But
there were other oil tin and
dustbin bands the first
steelbands, come to think of it.
As a matter of fact some of
them still exist, but under
different names: Destination
Tokyo, now Carib Tokyo, Oval
Boys, now Shell Invaders, Bar
20, now Old Oak Casablanca,
Hell Yard, now Catelli All
Stars, Red Army, now
Merrymakers, Rising Sun, and
some more. Only, then, they
weren't called steelbands, but
Gangs, hooligans.
We are viewing the
i John-John area around the
time of the last Carnival before
the war, 1939. Later Rouff was
to tell me what was happening:
Still without notes, the
John-John boys started making
improvements from the old
tins and bins. They began
giving pans names: the Biscuit
drum (the Slap Bass), the
Kettle, a pan about two feet in
length, one foot in diameter,
the "Biscuit Drum" was about
two feet high and two feet
wide. These drums they got
from a nearby biscuit factory
on Duncan Street, Rouff says
he thinks the name of the
factory was the Rising Sun
Biscuit Company. I remember
that by this time bugles were
brought into steelband.
At this time, too, tone was
discovered. Now the Newtown
boys have laid claim to the
discovery of tone. Other areas
as well, like Harpe Place. I was
too small to be on the spot,
but Spree tells the following
He said it all happened
during that Carnival in 1939.
He had loaned his 'Kettle' pan
to Wilson Bartholomew who
was nicknamed "Thick Lip." A
strong, stocky young man is
how Rouff describes him.
Rouff -- he lived next-door
to me, by the way -- told me
that once he had seen "Thick
Lip" lift a whole tub of water
and pour it on himself.


Anyway, Spree said that
after taking back his kettle pan
from Thick Lip the face was
beaten in and the tone he was
getting from it before was
gone. He, then, tried to punch
out the face of the pan with a
stone and in so doing he got a
different tone and notes from
the pan. And so, the convex, or
the "Spree-type" pan came
into being.
Spree later became
vice-captain of 'Destination
Tokyo', and Rouffs brother,
Dudley, was the captain.
Naturally many of the boys
used to give Spree fatigue
about his experimenting with
pan. They had to be careful,
however, for. Spree was not a
man to give fatigue. The fact
that he was running a steelband
at that time meant that he was
not a man to be trifled with.
There is a steelband story that
one time Spree was outside of
the band listening to the fellers
playing. He wasn't satisfied,
and he talked to them. But he
still find they playing shit so he
took one of the irons and skied
it into the band. The story
doesn't say whether anybody
got hurt.

The first pan Spree 'tuned'
had four separate notes, and it
was beaten outwards and not
inwards which Ellie
Mannette was responsible for
introducing sometime later.
With four notes Spree could
play at random Nursery
rhymes, "Yuh want to come
kill me," "Alan Ladd, this Gun
for Hire," were some of the
tunes he played, Rouff said.
Later Spree added another
note. The war, remember, was
in full swing and no bands were
allowed to play in the
streets. Some bands took the
law into their hands and
paraded around Christmas
time. Spree was at it every day
-- from the carriage to under
the mango tree or by the big
Samaan shade tree irf the
Pound. He usually had a glass
of mauby next to him, insists
Rouff who has an eyefordetail.
The work paid off for in
quick time Spree had a pan
with eight notes. By this time
the biscuit drum had given way
to a small oil drum. It may be
that Spree settled on this pan
because it was a little larger or
maybe because it was harder
and therefore gave a better

is intL

tone --- or, perhaps, a
combination of both. These
drums used to be stolen. As a
matter of fact most pans in the
1945 1947 period used to be
The John-John Boys got
their drums from an oil factory
next to the railway workshop
in the Sea Lots area. Usually
when the boys went for drums
they had to empty it, letting all
the oil go to waste.
Pan as it was being
developed received a setback
for a while. The reason was
simple: Spree was serving a
term in jail. But he was out by
1945, so that when bands were
allowed to parade on VE day,
Destination Tokyo hit the road
with a band that included:
A kettle with two notes



which was called a Bass Kettle
or Doodup.
A four-note pan which was
capable of playing a
semi-chorc, called a Grumbler
or Bay-lay.
Spree with his ping-pong.
Chamberlain and Domingo
with their bugles.
Soon afterwards it was VJ
day. In August of that year, I
saw other bands coming out
with the two-note Doodup, but
the Tokyo band was still ahead
"Spree" with his ping-pong
which now carried nine notes
and on which he was able to
play "Chinese never'had a VJ
day," "Lay ho lie fung lee
aye,' and "Oh yo yo hi yie yie,
tell them who don't know our
destination in Tokyo."
Although the public went


for the new rhythm, looking
back I doubt that they really
heard Spree because the pan
was not pitched as high as it is
today and it was beaten with
plain sticks and not with the
rubber-tipped stick.
Other bands followed using
the Spree technique until Ellie
changed the style around 1948.
Came 1946 and Spree was to
really make the steelband
world listen to him for this
time his ping-pong had 12 or
14 notes. When "Spree"
launched this pan it was in a
much different setting from
the bare, red-earth spot from
which the pan grew.

Two men held up this pan
for Spree when he was making
his first public appearance as a
soloist in Broadway, Port of
Spain. There was a large
audience, including the
governor at that time Sir Bede
and Lady Clifford, the Hon.
Mr. Norman Tang, social and
welfare worker, Audrey
Jeffers, Lord Kitchener and
other V.I.P's. He played the
hymn 'I am a warrior, "Lord
Kitchener's 'Tie Tongue
Mopsy, "Schubert's Ave Maria'
and concluded his performance
with "God Save the King", and
the applause that the last tune
received nearly broke the
stands down. There was a
rumour afterwards in
John-John that when the
Governor heard "God Save the
King" he jumped up and stood
at attention which caused his
coat buttons to burst off. A
hat was passed around so that
Spree, among his other
achievements, was the first
pan-man ever to get a fee.
Little did I know then that
Spree was pioneering a course
that I was to follow. The other
day he came to my house in
Laventille and it was kind of
strange both of us he, no
longer in the forefront of pan,
and I well known among
people who care about these
things. I should have been glad.
Instead, I felt kind of strange.
Afraid, almost.








15" 5-way 6-speaker/Fre-
lue m' y rang: ,25 22,000Hu!
NUN. input: 100\V



61 Queen St., P.O.S.



Tel: 35665.

The funeral of Oliver Ednmn.



Keith Smith

ON SEEING the many
candles scattered
throughout the various
blocks in Laventille last
week a stranger could be
excused for thinking that
some plague had swept
-. -through the area, robbing
the community of many
of her sons.
The candles, however, were
all for one man 25 year old
Oliver Edmond who crashed to
his death in full view of scores
of relatives and friends against
a quarry wall in the Laventille


The candles were a
measure of the popularity of
the man. And the anguish in
the, area was compounded by
the fact that the skeleton facts
outlined in the Press did not do
justice to a boy, who by any
standards, was among the most
remarkable in the area.
For the Oliver that will be
remembered in Laventille is the
one who with his two brothers
was in the process of setting up
a community self-help metal
shop when he met his death
(Tapia No. 28).


Down there, we will
remember the serious-minded,
level-headed young man who
never had much time to play,
but whose boisterous laughter
could on occasion be heard
along the length of Erica Street
where he lived.
It was Oliver that you went
to when you wanted something
explained particularly if it
concerned things mechanical.
Nobody ever taught him but he
could repair practically
anyt ir that needed a
machine to run ... his welding
plants, his blue jeep, his
motor-cycle, watches, either
that or he was fixing something
on the family house a bit of

carpentry, a spot of masonry.
It was Oliver that carried
the 'limes' on the blocks
arguing about everything -
from God to Mao to Hitler and
it was Oliver that handled the
financial accounts in the
brothers' welding business. It
was Oliver, who, spying you
across the road, would run
with a whoop, falling all over
you like an affectionate bear,
laughingly daring you to be
embarrassed over his excess of
Indeed, if we had been
asked, who was the man in
Laventille most likely to be
able to fly an aeroplane we
would have said Oliver. The
new that he was not 'pilot
material' was almost as
shocking as the death, itself. If
Oliver couldn't fly a plane who
could? I used to argue with
him about planes. They terrify
me, but he used to laugh at
my fears.


I remember long ago when
we were both kids opening the
door of his room and being
greeted with flashing lights and
ringing bells, the result of one
of his electronic hook-ups that
he contrived for the sole
purpose of startling the
daylights out of his friends.
The people who after
reading the reports in the Press
described him as stupid or mad

were wrong. He was neither of
these. His whole life and he
was the epitome .of living -
was constructed on the lines of
the future. He used to chide us
for wasting time instead of
using our youth to provide for
This, then, was Oliver and

the hundreds that thronged his
home for the week following'
the crash will bear testimony
to the fact that he stood out in
a community that has its fair
share of outstanding men.
None, of us, of course is
satisfied with the 'official
explanation of his death. It


flies in the face of our
knowledge of the man. It is to
be hoped that the investigation
and the coroner's inquest that
have been mooted will tell us
what caused his death, a death
particularly tragic in view of
the fact that he promised so



TAPIA journeyed to
Matelot, to meet with the
residents, learn of their
problems and hear of their
plans on Sunday September
17. Arriving towards mid-day,
the group explored the village
and took advantage of
excellent weather for
sea-bathing. A meeting had
been arranged in the
school-building for 3p.m., and
from their arrival the visitors
were plied with questions.
In introducing Tapia's main
speaker, Secretary Lloyd Best,

the chairman warned that the
people 'of Matelot had made an
important change in their lives,
no longer being prepared to
accept anyone on trust, they
would give a polite hearing to
all who offered advice or help,
but would examine every
proposal critically and reserve
judgment until they were
certain that Matelot would gain
from it;
Thus warned, Secretary Best
hastened to assure the
gathering of about 70 villagers
that it was not his or Tapia's
intention, that afternoon, to

US against Virgins

- THE UN Committee on
Decolonization has concluded
that the people of the Virgin
Islands have the "inalienable self-determination
and independence in
conformity with the

Puerto Rican on UN team

declaration that Puerto Rico is
a colony of the US, the Nixon
Administration named a Puerto
Rican woman to the US
delegation. Mrs. Julia Rivera de
Vincent, 53, will serve as an
alternate representative to the
27th General Assembly, now in
session. She is Secretary of
Labour for Puerto Rico and
lives in Rio Piedras, Puerto
But the man who heads the
ilN Trusteeship Council, which

reviews all colonies, is also a
member of the US delegation.
W. Tapley Bennet of Athens,
Georgia is well versed in the
application of the principle of

He was the US ambassador
to the Dominican Republic in
1964 when US marines were
sent there' to prevent Juan
Bosch's return to power.
Bennet functioned as absolute
ruler of the country until a
new leader (Balaguer) was
named in Washington.

Declaration on the Granting of
Independence to Colonial
Countries and Peoples."
The findings were contained
in a sub-committee report
issued recently. In accordance
with committee procedures the
United States, as the
administering Power,
participated in the
sub-committee deliberations.
The sub-committee report
rejected US contentions that
territorial size, limited
population, and restricted
resources should alter or delay
the "full implementation of
the Declaration."
Committee members were
concerned over policies of the
US which tend "toperpetuate
the Territory's association with
the United States." They also
said the US has acquainted
"the local people with their
right to self-determination and

present a plan which could
solve Matelot's problems once
and for all.
Tapia. had always argued
that it was the people in the
different localities who knew
and felt the problems of their
own survival, and it was for the
people to take their affairs into
their own hands. This was why
Tapia had adopted the Biblical
command- "Take up they bed
and walk."
Best wished, however, to
place Matelot's problems in
wider perspective. All over the
nation, cries of neglect, similar
to those of Matelot, were being
raised. Perhaps Tobago was the
extreme example of the
problems brought on by
over-centralised administration.

As an indication of the lines
along which he thought the
solution lay, Best suggested the
creation of a local government
authority, embracing the area
from Matelot to Matura, which
would be charged with the
responsibility for developing
resources of the area the
white sand of Matura, the
fishing industry, the
agricultural and tourist
potential for the benefit of
the people living there.
Tapia chairman, Syl
Lowhar, was warmly received,
after responding to a special
call to speak. In addition to the
interest they showed in that
weekend's issue of TAPIA,
which featured the plight of
the village, many present were
keen to have the Tapia
members expand on points
raised by the two speakers.

Printed by Tapia House Printing Co. Ltd. for Tapia House Publishing Co. Ltd., 82-84 St. Vincent Street, Tunapuna.